Becoming an actress isn’t as easy as you might think. Many people assume that you can just find an agent and start getting auditions, or that you can apply for roles yourself without the help of an agent. While it’s true that you can do this, the difficult part is actually getting the parts you audition for. Becoming an actress, i.e. making acting your paid career, involves much more effort.
Before you quit your day job and move to a big city to pursue your acting dreams, you should be confident in your acting ability. You wouldn’t quit your job and apply to be a math teacher without being pretty sure you were good at math, and the same applies here. There is a wealth of knowledge available on the internet, and most places have night courses or classes you can take to make sure you’re as good as you think you are. To be an actress, aside from actually being able to act, you need to be a great public speaker, have flawless confidence, and be able to take instruction. So, if you can’t find a local course to help you get real acting practice, you should try and brush up on these skills in your daily life. Confidence can be built up quickly and easily with several techniques, including those found in this online course: Double Your Confidence, a class with over 30 lectures and hours of video content.
If there are no stage schools or acting classes nearby, what about a debate club? Practicing speaking clearly and with conviction in this way can really help you in future auditions and roles. Similarly, learning how to follow instructions correctly, how to take criticism and direction well and how to listen to other people will make you much easier to work with in your future career. All these skills can be gained and built on during your normal working life, so make sure you make the effort to improve your abilities whenever you can. Acting itself is based around mimicry and creativity, so immerse yourself in real human situations whenever possible, so that you can learn realistic body language, facial expressions and emotions.
Once you are confident that you have the skills to begin your journey, you will need to have good photographs of yourself to give to casting directors with your resume so that they can remember you and decide whether you are right for the role. Work with a professional photographer who specializes in this kind of photography and can provide you with several different headshots suitable for various roles. A good photo will provide a lasting impression and help other people in the casting process who were not able to see you audition to visualize whether they think you are the right look for the role, so professional headshots are a necessary investment for an actress.
A reputable talent agent, properly registered and licensed, is an invaluable asset to you. Your agent will hear of upcoming productions and roles before you, and will tell you about the ones he or she thinks are right for you. Your agent will “sell” you to the casting director and try their hardest to get you an audition, as this is their job. An agent will take some of your earnings in return for this, but they have many more contacts than you and as they only get paid when you get work, they work extra hard and do their best to get you as many good auditions as possible.
Make sure the agent you choose is genuine and honest, as there are some unscrupulous people out there who may not have your best interests at heart. If you don’t have an agent, there are websites where open casting calls are listed, and you should check them frequently. Go to as many auditions as you can, even if you are not sure that you’re quite right for the role, because every audition is great practice for the future, and they will help you be more relaxed and confident in future auditions – and you never know, you might get the part anyway! Having said that, do not go to auditions that you know you are completely wrong for, as this is a waste of your time and the casting team’s time.
One way into TV or film is to get your foot in the door via starring in a Reality TV show – this is definitely not for everyone but if you think you’re the right kind of personality to succeed in this way, more information on this route can be found at Reality TV 101.
Once you have an audition lined up, you need to prepare properly. You will be asked to read a monologue or two that you have prepared, so make sure you have a few memorised ready for any occasion, and make sure you have practiced them in front of an audience before so that you are relaxed and confident. They will also want you to read from a script relevant to the part you’re auditioning for, which you may not have been able to directly prepare for. Here, you will have to rely on your own abilities – try and remain calm! You may also then be asked to talk about yourself, talk about what you think you could bring to the role, how you view the character from the information you’ve been given, and so on. Confidence is key here, but you must take care not to seem arrogant or overbearing. You want to stand out and be viewed as interesting and professional, but you don’t want to seem too larger-than-life or risk putting off the casting team. For an in-depth look at audition success, visit Audition Bootcamp.
An audition is, at its core, a job interview. It’s very different than an interview for an office job but it is still you trying to convince someone else to hire you. To improve your skills in this area, you could consider a crash course in negotiation, selling yourself, networking, resume production and more at the Interview Workshop course.